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Summary: One word, rightly understood, sums up our mission as Christians. Use the gifts the Spirit gives you to carry it out. Parts: A. What is the mission? B. How do we carry out the mission?

Text: Psalm 117

Theme: Our Hallelujah Mission

A. What is the mission?

B. How do we carry out the mission?

Season: Mission Festival

Date: October 18, 2009

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Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The Word from God which gives us our mission is Psalm 117

"Praise the Lord, all you nations. Laud him, all the peoples. For his mercy prevails over us and the faithfulness of the Lord lasts forever. Hallelujah! " (Psalm 117)

Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:

Do you recognize this theme music? It’s the opening from the TV show Mission Impossible. The Mission Impossible movies use it as well. In the show the IMF, the Impossible Mission Force, was given a task to do, a seemingly impossible mission.

At mission festival our thoughts often turn to missionaries across the sea. Leaving behind family and friends, immersed in a radically different culture, surrounded by strange sounding words and conversations, unusual smells twitching their noses, their taste buds puzzled by new foods -- how impossible a mission to share God’s Word there, we may well think! Yet our God in his love has enabled missionaries and their families to learn new languages, adapt to new cultures, brave the unknown, and so share the Good News of Jesus.

But today instead of thinking only of the mission of missionaries, let’s consider the mission our Lord and Savior has given to each one of us. What is that mission he sends you on? How do you carry it out? Let’s answer those questions as we dig into God’s Word this morning.

A. What is the mission?

First, what is the mission? To learn about the mission you don’t need to find a secret, taped message that self-destructs in five-seconds after you’ve listen to it. Rather, let’s take to heart the word of God before us today. We turn to Psalm 117.

"Praise the Lord, all you nations. Laud him, all the peoples. For his mercy prevails over us and the faithfulness of the Lord lasts forever. Hallelujah!" (Psalm 117). That’s the entire Psalm, very brief. Let’s think about it.

What’s our mission? Is it to buy tickets to Africa and become missionaries? Is it to move to another town to start a church there, inviting people to worship in our homes? Is it to knock on doors in our own community asking whether they have a church or not, ready to tell them about Jesus? We might often picture mission work as falling into these categories: world missions, home missions, door-to-door evangelism. But our mission is broader than any one of those tasks. Certain Christians, at certain times, under certain circumstances may be called or asked to do one of those things. And they are helping to carry out our mission by doing so. But the mission is broader.

What is our mission? One word from the Psalm can summarize it: Hallelujah! Hallelujah is from the Hebrew words meaning, "Praise the Lord." Our mission is to praise the Lord. That’s what our God wants all nations, all the peoples to do, including you and me, as the Psalm makes clear. "Praise the Lord, all you nations. Laud him, all the peoples" (Psalm 117:1). Praise the Lord! Hallelujah!

Here again, though, don’t think of this in a narrow way that focuses only on a handful of tasks we do. Sometimes we only think of singing hymns in church as praising the Lord. But praising him is much more than that, which we begin to see, when we ask why do we praise our Lord and what do we praise him for. Both questions have the same answer, which verse two of the Psalm gives us. "For his mercy prevails over us and the faithfulness of the Lord lasts forever. Hallelujah!" (Psalm 117:2).

The strong man of sin used to rule in our hearts. We willingly followed our sinful desires, so great was sin’s control over our soul and mind. But God’s mercy was stronger. Like a might warrior, his mercy prevailed.

We usually don’t picture mercy as a mighty warrior, do we? That doesn’t fit together in our minds. But the way God’s mercy won us for himself doesn’t fit our human thinking either. He prevailed not through might and miracle but through weakness. The mighty warrior whose mere word could calm the raging storm, drive out demons, and raise the dead, he let mere mortal men nail his hands and feet to wood.

So great is his mercy! He, God over all, the eternal Son of the Almighty, he humbled himself to save rebellious sinners, such as you and I. He not only took flesh and blood into his divinity, but he took on himself our misery, our pitiful wretchedness, our naked shame. He clothed himself with our filthy, guilty rags and became sin for us. He took your place, dear sinner. He took your place under God’s wrath on that cross. So great is his mercy!

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